Posted by: reformedmusings | September 25, 2008

Reformation Fatigue?

Providentially, I found an article from Outlook by Dr. D. G. Hart and John Muether entitled The New Riddle of Catholicism (HT: Heidelblog). Dr. Hart’s article is the first of several, and nicely summarizes the appeal that the Roman church seems to have in current Protestantism. I say providentially because of the discussions ongoing in the PCA Denominational Renewal at Common Grounds Online. In the presentation on Renewing Theology, TE Jeremy Jones advocates developing a broader perspective of our roots in order to counter sectarianism. As I discuss here, he suggests an illustration that has the Roman Catholic Church as the 1st floor of a common building, with the Protestant churches as apartments on the 2nd floor. I objected to this construct, instead offering an illustration by Dr. R. C. Sproul, Sr., that also uses a layered approach, but uses our confessions as the layers rather than denominations. Dr. Sproul’s approach does a better good job of showing our common heritage as Protestants, and avoids paying false homage to a corrupt denomination that anathematized the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Hart’s article is the first of several, and nicely summarizes the strange appeal that the Roman church seems to have in current Protestantism.

Dr. Hart’s entitled the last section of the article “Reformation Fatigue – Weary in Well Doing?” Here he mentions the failed Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) and ECT 2 efforts. While using high-sounding prose, these horrendously misguided documents attempted to find commonality where there is none. How can one have fellowship with a denomination that anathematizes the gospel? Unfortunately, a number of prominent Protestants were duped into that effort and signed a couple of pointless documents that have since been relegated to the ash heap of history. Rome didn’t back down one iota from its condemnation of core Protestant doctrines, including the gospel, in ECT. False peace is no peace at all. It looks more like surrender.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I see an element of this in the current “denominational renewal” discussion. We would all benefit by reading the Outlook article, then cruising the documents from the Council of Trent to remind us of just how corrupt the doctrine of Roman church was and is. The blood of tens of thousands of Reformed martyrs were spilled for the sake of the gospel. The last edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs ran about 2300 pages chronicling just the Protestant blood spilled in England. That doesn’t count the massacred Huguenots in France.

How soon we forget.

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